Rapid Reaction: Yankees 4, Red Sox 1

NEW YORK -- This being World Humanitarian Day, it seemed like a good idea to declare a moratorium on bashing Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett, although one tweeter Sunday night didn’t quite capture the spirit of the occasion.

“Then let’s do the humane thing," tweeted one ZMoretti, “and put that dog down."

Nothing like baring your teeth.

The summer of Beckett’s discontent continued apace Sunday night, the Sox right-hander giving up two solo home runs to Ichiro Suzuki and two doubles to Derek Jeter that resulted in another pair of Yankee runs in the Bombers’ 4-1 win, giving them the rubber game of this three-game set. Beckett (5-11) is now winless in his past six starts.

The Sox return home after going 4-6 on a 10-game trip in which they split four games with the Indians and lost two of three to both the Orioles and Yankees. They have lost 8 of 12 games to the Yanks this season and have been outhomered 31-11.

Adrian Gonzalez’s home run, his second in two days, 15th of the season and ninth in the second half, accounted for Boston’s only run as Hiroki Kuroda held the Sox to four hits while not walking a batter in eight innings.

The Yanks visit Boston once more before the teams return here for the final weekend of the season. Must-see TV? Hardly. By then, the Yankees will be resting their starters for the playoffs and the Sox will be resurrecting lineups last seen in Fort Myers.

There are 40 games left for the Sox. They are 13½ games behind the Yankees in the AL East. They are 8½ behind the Rays for one wild card, 7½ behind the Orioles for the second wild card. The English Premier League season has already begun, the Pats will be playing real games soon and the Sox have just 18 games left at Fenway Park, including three against the Angels and four against the Royals in the coming week.

Three million tickets have been sold, so the sellout streak appears in no jeopardy, but beyond that, the Sox will begin rehearsals for 2013.

And Beckett, according to Sox GM Ben Cherington, remains part of that future equation. Asked if he still viewed Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Beckett as foundational pieces of the rotation, Cherington said, “Sure. It’s no secret our starting pitching has not been as good as it used to be, if you look at the entirety of the season. Part of improving it is simply to help our guys get back closer to what they’ve been in the past, and those are key guys.

“If there are other ways to improve in the offseason, we’ll look at that, but there’s a lot of performance upside simply with the guys here without adding anything to it. Our job is to get the most out of them. I know it won’t be any lack of effort on their part."